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How to Read Matthew

2020 Reading Plan Images.001

During the month of February, our church we will be reading through the gospel of Matthew, which goes well with our sermon series through the Sermon on the Mount. Use this study guide to help you as you read through the gospel.

What’s Matthew All About?

The book of Matthew is all about the Kingdom of God coming to earth through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fulfillment of everything that has gone before in the Old Testament. He is the New David who comes to establish God’s Kingdom. He is the New Moses who comes to bring us a new law. He is the better Joshua who comes to bring us rest. He is the better High Priest who comes to take away the sins of God’s people for good. He is even the God of Israel who has come to be with his people.

The book focuses on Jesus’ ministry in the region of Galilee. It is structured around five blocks of narrative followed by five blocks of teaching from Jesus. The book begins with the origins of Jesus and ends with the climax of the cross and the resurrection of Christ.

Outline of the Book

1–2     | Jesus’ Origin Story
3–7     | Jesus Launches His Ministry & the Sermon on Mount
8–10   | Kingdom Signs & Warnings for Jesus’ Disciples
11–13 | Responses to Jesus & the Parables of Jesus
13–19 | Opposition to Jesus & Teaching on Kingdom Life
19–26 | Kingdoms Clash & Warning the Religious Leaders
27–28 | Jesus’ Death, Resurrection, & Great Commission

Things to Look For

Look for ways that Matthew weaves the Old Testament throughout the gospel. He wants us to see that Jesus is the fulfillment of promises, patterns, and prophecies from the Old Testament.

Look for ways that Matthew portrays Jesus not as replacing the Jewish faith but as fulfilling it. He is careful to show that Jesus didn’t come to ditch the Old Covenant but to be the One that it was working toward.

Look for ways that Jesus challenges us to see the world upside down. His Kingdom is not like the world. The poor are rich. The first are last. The way up is the way down.

Look for ways that Jesus confronts a surface-level, man-focused religion. This kind of righteousness might look good before man, but before God it is useless.

Look for ways that Matthew puts the cross of Jesus at the center of God’s Kingdom. Jesus hasn’t come to establish God’s Kingdom through the power of the sword. Instead, he brings God’s Kingdom through self-sacrificial love.

Tips for Reading

Read a chapter each day starting today and you’ll finish in February (thanks to an extra day for leap year). Or you could read two chapters a day and read through the book twice during the month.

Take time to look up the Old Testament references. It will help you make sense of Matthew’s telling of Jesus’ story.

Try reading the Sermon on the Mount each day of the month. Or try memorizing big chunks of it— like the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, or the section on worry.

Get together with a group of friends and read through the whole gospel out loud. It will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes to read the whole book (1 hour and 14 minutes shorter than the average Super Bowl game).